Working Paper

Difference in Preferences or in Preference Orderings? Comparing Choices of Environmental Bureaucrats, Recreational Anglers, and the Public

Aug 27, 2016 | Håkan Eggert, Mitesh Kataria, Elina Lampi

This was created in partnership with Environment for Development .

Abstract

Do Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bureaucrats represent the general public or are they more in line with an interest group? We study preferences for environmental policy using a choice experiment (CE) on three populations; the general public, Swedish EPA bureaucrats, and recreational anglers. We also test for existence of multiple preference orderings, i.e., whether responses differ depending on the decision role assigned. Half of the respondents were asked to choose the alternatives that best corresponded with their opinion, and the other half was asked to take the role of a policymaker and make recommendations for environmental policy. The SEPA bureaucrats have the highest marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) to improve environmental quality. These differences are robust and not due to differences in socioeconomic characteristics across the populations. We found little evidence of multiple preference orderings, but in one case the difference in MWTP between the two roles was substantial.